For Immediate Release
Contact: Riley Snorton
Ph: 212-727-0135, x138
Bill Will Deny Students’ Access to Information and Resources
New York, NY –The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, decries the actions of Alabama lawmaker, Rep. Gerald Allen (R-Cottondale), who recently introduced a bill in the Alabama House that would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle."
Rep. Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda” and said that if his bill passes, novels with gay characters and/or themes, along with college textbooks with LGBT content, would have to be removed from library
shelves and destroyed.
His bill also would prohibit educators from bringing speakers or distributing materials with any content on LGBT issues.
“This is an attack on the citizens of Alabama. In taking away funding from all public libraries that do not conform with his narrow-minded personal beliefs, Rep. Allen will deny educational resources to students, teachers and everyday Alabamans who seek to learn about and respect the diversity of humankind,” said Kevin Jennings, GLSEN’s Executive Director and Founder.
“In all my years as an educator and proponent of safe schools, I have never heard of a more unreasonable and potentially harmful piece of legislation.”
GLSEN believes that learning about the diversity of humankind is an essential part of education in a democratic society, and affirms the right of students to learn in classroom environments that nurture diversity.
GLSEN encourages schools to allow students in all grade levels access to curricula, trainings, texts and materials—in all areas including but not limited to, history, literature, family life, sexuality and health education—that are relevant, age-appropriate, medically accurate and inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.
“I encourage other Alabama lawmakers to recognize Allen’s bill for what it is,” said Mr. Jennings, “an alarmist, homophobic piece of legislation that, if passed, would set Alabamans back a century.”
Kevin Jennings comments were echoed by Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, who added, “This bill is completely outrageous and undoubtedly unconstitutional. If this bill is passed Alabama could see a ban on some of the classics of western civilization and arguably even the Bible is in question.”
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, continue to visit www.glsen.org.